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Censorship, surveillance, and harassment: China cracks down on critics - CPJ
Censorship of discussion following President Xi Jinping's recent power grab was just the latest in a worsening crackdown on freedom of speech and access to information in China, CPJ reports: "Hours after the Chinese Communist Party proposed a constitutional change last month to lift presidential term limits, any words or phrases that remotely suggested President Xi Jingping was seeking a life term were blocked from social media. Censors targeted everything from 'Emperor Xi,' 'The Emperor's Dream,' and 'Dream of Returning to the Great Qing,' to 'Winnie the Pooh,' a reference to Xi's apparent resemblance to the cartoon character, the China Digital Times reported. Such censorship is not new in China, but in recent months the country has increased its grip, regulating tools such as virtual private networks (VPNs) that can bypass the country's infamous firewall, issuing lists of 'approved' news outlets, and disbarring lawyers who represent jailed journalists...

"A veteran reporter for an English-language media outlet told CPJ that VPNs are crucial to their reporting in China. Without them, the reporter said, they would not feel safe to file stories and pictures or to communicate with editors, colleagues, and interviewees...As well as attempts to regulate and censor social media platforms, authorities appear to be using the technology to track journalists."
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yesterday by dmcdev
What's so great about Southeast Asia anyway?
Issue 01 of my Southeast Asia focused tech newsletter! Read and subscribe!
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2 days ago by akalin
Mistakes happen for a reason | Bloody shovel
Which leads me to this article by Scott Alexander. He elaborates on an idea by one of his ingroup about their being two ways of looking at things, “mistake theory” and “conflict theory”. Mistake theory claims that political opposition comes from a different understanding of issues: if people had the same amount of knowledge and proper theories to explain it, they would necessarily agree. Conflict theory states that people disagree because their interests conflict, the conflict is zero-sum so there’s no reason to agree, the only question is how to resolve the conflict.

I was speechless. I am quite used to Mr. Alexander and his crowd missing the point on purpose, but this was just too much. Mistake theory and Conflict theory are not parallel things. “Mistake theory” is just the natural, tribalist way of thinking. It assumes an ingroup, it assumes the ingroup has a codified way of thinking about things, and it interprets all disagreement as a lack of understanding of the obviously objective and universal truths of the ingroup religion. There is a reason why liberals call “ignorant” all those who disagree with them. Christians used to be rather more charitable on this front and asked for “faith”, which they also assumed was difficult to achieve.

Conflict theory is one of the great achievements of the human intellect; it is an objective, useful and predictively powerful way of analyzing human disagreement. There is a reason why Marxist historiography revolutionized the world and is still with us: Marx made a strong point that human history was based on conflict. Which is true. It is tautologically true. If you understand evolution it stands to reason that all social life is about conflict. The fight for genetical survival is ultimately zero-sum, and even in those short periods of abundance when it is not, the fight for mating supremacy is very much zero-sum, and we are all very much aware of that today. Marx focused on class struggle for political reasons, which is wrong, but his focus on conflict was a gust of fresh air for those who enjoy objective analysis.

Incidentally the early Chinese thinkers understood conflict theory very well, which is why Chinese civilization is still around, the oldest on earth. A proper understanding of conflict does not come without its drawbacks, though. Mistakes happen for a reason. Pat Buchanan actually does understand why USG open the doors to trade with China. Yes, Whig history was part of it, but that’s just the rhetoric used to justify the idea. The actual motivation to trade with China was making money short term. Lots of money. Many in the Western elite have made huge amounts of money with the China trade. Money that conveniently was funneled to whichever political channels it had to do in order to keep the China trade going. Even without Whig history, even without the clueless idea that China would never become a political great power, the short-term profits to be made were big enough to capture the political process in the West and push for it. Countries don’t have interests: people do.

That is true, and should be obvious, but there are dangers to the realization. There’s a reason why people dislike cynics. People don’t want to know the truth. It’s hard to coordinate around the truth, especially when the truth is that humans are selfish assholes constantly in conflict. Mistakes happen because people find it convenient to hide the truth; and “mistake theory” happens because policing the ingroup patterns of thought, limiting the capability of people of knowing too much, is politically useful. The early Chinese kingdoms developed a very sophisticated way of analyzing objective reality. The early kingdoms were also full of constant warfare, rebellions and elite betrayals; all of which went on until the introduction in the 13th century of a state ideology (neoconfucianism) based on complete humbug and a massively unrealistic theory on human nature. Roman literature is refreshingly objective and to the point. Romans were also murderous bastards who assassinated each other all the time. It took the massive pile of nonsense which we call the Christian canon to get Europeans to cooperate in a semi-stable basis.

But guess what? Conflict theory also exists for a reason. And the reason is to extricate oneself from the ingroup, to see things how they actually are, and to undermine the state religion from the outside. Marxists came up with conflict theory because they knew they had little to expect from fighting from within the system. Those low-status workers who still regarded their mainstream society as being the ingroup they very sharply called “alienated”, and by using conflict theory they showed what the ingroup ideology was actually made of. Pat Buchanan and his cuck friends should take the message and stop assuming that the elite is playing for the same team as they are. The global elite, of America and its vassals, is not mistaken. They are playing for themselves: to raise their status above yours, to drop their potential rivals into eternal misery and to rule forever over them. China, Syria, and everything else, is about that.
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7 days ago by nhaliday
China steps up internet censorship of criticism of Xi Jinping
As China cleared the way for president Xi Jinping to rule for life, netizens inside the country had their reactions to the news censored en masse on popular social platforms such as Weibo, Nathan Vanderklippe writes for The Globe and Mail:

"A few days ago, Chinese police knocked on Yan's apartment door, saying they were there for a routine document check.

It didn't take long to reveal their real intention. 'They asked me what I posted on Weibo,' said Yan, 19, a student and amateur coder who spoke on condition his real name and other identifying details were not published.

Weibo is roughly China's Twitter, and Yan admitted to the officers that he had built a digital tool that allowed internet users to reconnect with people whose social media accounts had been deleted. He then released it amid the flurry of censorship that sought to scrub the Chinese internet of critical commentary after the Communist Party said it planned to remove term limits for the presidency, clearing the way for Xi Jinping to remain in office for life – a decision written into the national constitution Sunday.

'I told police that I made it with no evil intent. I just wanted to find my friends,' Yan said.

"But it seems I overestimated this nation's tolerance.""
otf  china  asia 
8 days ago by dmcdev

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